The government has come under quite a bit of flack recently after expanding its startup loans scheme from 18 to 24-year-olds up to the age of 30. The expansion of the scheme is a clear signal of the government's ineptitude to secure enough applications for the original 18-24-age band.
The Algerian hostage crisis, which has unsurprisingly dominated the news agenda this week, might now be over, but there will be very few able to extract anything positive from the four-day standoff and its eventual messy, bloody and violent end. As I write, British officials are still desperately trying to establish the fate of the remaining UK hostages at the Algerian gas plant. Facts are still few and far between. The only absolute truth: lives have been lost, and no side is able to claim victory.
Like many nurses, I left the NHS because I found it practically impossible to be able to deliver a good standard of care due to what I call the 'constant revolution' within the health service.
So where does the consumer fit in when it comes to analysing the potential for change? For a start, we've pretty much given up on our politicians doing anything substantial about today's converging sustainability crises. It seems they'll only act when they're 'given permission' to act by others: by the private sector, for instance, or, occasionally, by voters.
The government is failing to show the leadership we need. It talks about putting tax avoidance on the agenda of the G8 but is not coming forward with concrete proposals. And it is undermining the ability of HMRC to administer and collect the tax, by cutting its resources too far and too fast.
With yet more allegations of bullying and abuse in the armed forces, the time has come for the government to act on its promise to ensure that serving personnel are treated fairly and get access to the support they need when they leave active service.
So will the optimism that's been building up towards the end of 2012 be quashed in 2013 just as in previous years? We'll have to wait and see but since growth forecasts for 2013 have been slashed left, right and centre recovery looks like it'll be feeble at best.
That race is one from recession to recovery. It will be an urban recovery so it will be the best-equipped cities that are going to lead it. Liverpool has its Mayor in Joe Andersen and that fact alone makes him one of Labour's most powerful leaders and helps to differentiate the city.
Inflation is going to be a big story in 2013 worldwide but especially for the UK. While the Bank of England's asset purchase program isn't in itself inflationary, the devaluation of sterling is. Our largest import through 2013, because of the Bank's monetary policy, will be inflation.
I can understand why Cameron is in some ways reluctant to deal with Mr Farage. What the Ukip leader has been doing, very cleverly, is to move his party onto the ground left empty by the prime minister's push for the centre.
Unlike buying a car or new kitchen, the hard pressed commuter of today is often paying for improvements that will be enjoyed years from now. When upgrades do arrive, the benefits are often taken up in the form of catering for increased demand.
It hasn't been admitted publicly - but it looks like the Tories' war on lone parents has resumed. Lone parents won't forget the way in which they were demonised by previous Conservative governments - Peter Lilley's "little list", John Redwood's notorious visit to the St Mellons estate in Wales - and a host of policies that left lone parents struggling in poverty to bring up children on their own.
today's re-launch didn't tell us a huge amount. We were promised action on childcare support, support for first-time buyers and, yet again, greater investment in infrastructure... But detail remains largely absent, with more to be dripped out between now and the Budget in April.
As governments down the years have discovered, welfare is a political minefield. Most people think they pay more into the government’s welfare pot through taxes than they draw out in benefits.
George Osborne has conjured up an image of lazy unemployed people enjoying comfortable lives whilst other (decent) people get up early to go out to work. This feeds into the same theme in some parts of the media about lazy unemployed people but is far from the reality.
Please do not be so naive as to believe that in decriminalising certain drugs you will be able to regulate them. All it will do is endorse the market place and generate growth in the drug industry, creating opportunity for low cost and black market goods, synthetic evolutions and copies.